Lacklustre Ahly stretch winless streak after ENPPI draw

Ahram Online, Wednesday 2 Apr 2014

Ahly fail to bounce back from Champions League disappointment following a 1-1 Egyptian Premier League draw with ENPPI on Wednesday

Ahly and ENPPI
Ahly and ENPPI (Photo: Bassam Al-Zoghby)

Ahly extended their winless streak to four games in all competitions after being held to a 1-1 draw by struggeling side ENPPI in the Egyptian Premier League on Wednesday.

The Reds, who were embarrassingly dumped out from the Champions League this week, fell behind when Ivorian striker Vincent De Foneye put ENPPI in front after 23 minutes.

Midfielder Abdallah El-Saied managed to restore parity through a contentious spot kick five minutes later but both sides failed to notch a decisive goal to share honours in a dull affair at the army-owned Air Defence Stadium in Cairo. 

The result increases pressure on Ahly's beleaguered coach Mohamed Youssef, who reports suggest will be shown the door. 

Youssef, who took over from Hossam El-Badry last year, steered Ahly to a surprise Champions League title last season but his side failed to cope with the retirement of talismanic playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, whose absence left Ahly struggling for creativity. 

The draw lifted Ahly to fourth place on 20 points, six adrift of leaders and surprise package Smouha and three behind second-placed Ittihad of Alexandria, who played two games more. The winners and runners-up will advance to a four-team mini-league to determine the champion.

ENPPI did not benefit much from the point they won as they remain in the dangerous zone, languishing in ninth place with 13 points.

Controversial spot kick   

Ahly were the first to pose threat on goal in an insipid first half, with young midfielder Mahmoud 'Trezeguet' Hassan firing a low shot that went just wide. 

Egypt right-back Ahmed Fathi also wasted another chance when his strike from inside the area was thwarted by veteran keeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef.   

But it was the petroleum side who took the lead through De Foneye when the Ivorian rounded off a quick counter attack in superb fashion, hitting a close-range shot into the bottom corner of the net following some exquisite work by Salah Ashour.

Mohamed Youssef's men, who were eliminated from the Champions League round of 16 at the hands of Libya's Ahly Benghazi on Saturday, pulled level shortly afterwards – albeit through a dubious spot kick.

After promising striker Amr Gamal fell down to the ground following a seemingly-normal collision with defender Ramy Sabry, the referee pointed to the spot as El-Saied smashed home the ensuing penalty.

Below-par refereeing

Chances were few and far between in a pedestrian second half, but a controversial moment in the game saw the referee wave play on after Fathi had committed a blatant foul on ENPPI's Yehia Hamed inside the penalty area.

The game, however, suddenly stung into action when ENPPI keeper Abdel-Monsef came to his side's rescue after half an hour from the restart, denying Trezeguet's point-blank header which was delightfully parried by the former Zamalek guardian.

Official Tarek Magdy still raised eyebrows though with another debatable decision, denying Ahly a deserved penalty after ENPPI's Nader El-Ashry was brought down following a clumsy challenge from Fathi as both teams shared spoils. 

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